Hen non-responsive - head down, tail up not moving

Ewe Mama2

10 Years
Mar 26, 2009
Northeastern Ohio
Just got home form church and noticed my daughter's favorite hen (11 months, SLW) sitting on the back porch, with her head resting on the ground, salivating through an open beak. Breathing seems to be shallow, doesn't really open her eyes. No sign of injury. She was perfectly fine yesterday. She has no strength to hold her head up. I put her in a box with some hay and tried to give her some molasses in warm water to perk her up, but that isn't helping.

Our chickens free range, so I don't know if she ate something that made her sick. Is there any way to flush out her system, or do we just need to let it run its course?

Please help!
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I thought I had answered the questions from sticky 2. The answer to every question I was able to answer is in my OP.

The hen's eyes are very red and when I set her in her box, she leans very far forward, so her head is on the bottom of the box and her tail is up in the air.
I read your post when it first came up. I actually have not encountered this, so didn't answer. But, surely there is someone out there who can shed some light. Come on BYCers!

maybe you could edit your title to give a bit more info, though. Then people will know right away if they can help. Just a thought. Hope someone responds.
Now the poor thing is laying on her side with her legs out. She is still breathing though. I'm going to try more molasses and warm water to see if she can swallow anything.
since no one else seems to be jumping in to help, here's at least some initial thoughts from me.

You are in Ohio, so she would probably be better off in the house where it's warm. It's possible you've already done that. Then, really look at her. What is the condition of her vent, her eyes, her nose, her crop, any sign of injury? is she pooping, and if so, what does that look like, color, consistency? Is she puffed up? Does her abdomen feel puffy? When was the last time she laid an egg? Does she move her legs at all? does she open her eyes when you touch her?

eta - molasses in water acts like a laxative, so that does flush her out, but not sure if that is what you're after. is it possible her feed got moldy? or has there been any chemical spraying nearby?
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Thanks for your post. I did move her into the house, so she is warm. Her vent seems to be normal. I believe she laid an egg yesterday. We have 10 hens who like to lay in the same spot, so it's hard to pinpoint exactly who/when each egg was laid. She really doesn't move her legs or make an effort to sit "normally". I gave her a bit more molasses water and she seemed to make an effort at drinking some down.. She opened one of her eyes during this attempt at feeding, so I took that as a good sign. She has not pooped since I found her earlier. I'm concerned that she perhapes ate some rock salt that my husband had put on the stairs. Her eyes are still very red and her breathing seems shallow. I cannot find any sign of injury. She was perfectly happy and healthy yesterday, and today she couldn't be any more lethargic without being dead. No moldy food or chemical spraying. There's way too much snow around here

I truly appreciate your attempts to help. I know sick chickens frequently don't make it, but I feel like we need to try to save this one, because she is so special to our daughter.

Just as I was about to post this, I heard the hen making some attempts to "talk". She is still very lethargic, but seems a little stronger.
It does sound like poison.
I think you are wise to use molasses as a purgative.
If necessary mix in a bit of water and continue to offer by dropper.
New shoots coming up this time of year, it's easy to mistake one for another even though hens are fussy.
Also, check the yard and your other hens for anything that may look 'wrong'...

and products called 'Turbo-Booster' and 'Super-Booster' are generic treatments for all kinds of poison, especially the heavy metal poisonings. Poisons of all kinds tend to strip needed minerals out of the birds which must be quickly replaced. These treatments can be found at most feed stores and at TSC. If they are closed you might be able to borrow a packet from another chicken owner nearby.
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Sounds like poison to me, too. You may need to determine what type of poison it is for the best action. Sometimes, a purgative can make it worse. Is there any type of bite on the hen, exposed chemicals or eaten toxic plants in the yard?

Here is link from NCSU on toxic plants and their symptoms http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Anthusp.htm Here is one sent to be from someone on BYC http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/ce/king/PoisPlant/Tox-COM.htm Here is the link to the ASPCA poison control center http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/ The number for the hotline is (888) 426-4435. It costs about $65 to call, but they are extremely. (Had to call them last week about one of my hens) The cost is per case. So, you can call back many times for more information. The site also has a list and images of toxic items. Also, call around to see if there is any vet that can help. Most emergency vets may not see chickens bit are willing to look up information for you.

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